As a layman I've had the toughest time figuring out what exactly is going on in the credit crisis. Here's a Policy Analysis by Jagadeesh Gokhale at CATO. Being CATO it leans heavily to the free market (as do I). Agree or disagree it gives some basic definitions and explanations that I have had a hard time understanding from other accounts.
(HT: John Hood at NRO's The Corner)